Document Type



This paper looks at the real motivations behind the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) regime through the prism of American corporate activities in Saudi Arabia. The author finds that several companies generally hailed as leading the way in corporate social responsibility, such as Starbucks, McDonalds and the Hilton Corporation, are in effect perpetuating shocking abuses of human rights—specifically women’s rights—for the sake of maximizing profits. Such behavior suggests that, for many companies, the CSR regime is not motivated by a wider normative shift towards more socially responsible behavior, as many authors have suggested, but rather is simply a tool to maximize a corporation’s monetary value by appealing to niche markets. The author suggests that to end this troubling dynamic, the political and judicial branches of government should learn from the harsh lessons gained during the South African Apartheid and step forward to prohibit domestic companies from engaging in gross patterns of gender discrimination abroad.

Date of Authorship for this Version

Spring 1-20-2011


Civil Rights; Comparative Law; Corporations; Human Rights Law; International Law; Law and Society; Sexuality and the Law; Women